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Sen. Menendez’s considerable other kept him ‘sidelined’ about money woes, defense licensed reliable tells jurors in corruption trial

U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., arrives at federal court in Unusual York City for his bribery trial in connection with an alleged execrable relationship with three Unusual Jersey businessmen, Can even 14, 2024.

Brendan Mcdermid | Reuters

Sen. Robert Menendez’s considerable other and co-defendant, Nadine Menendez, changed into as soon as hiding her monetary troubles from her husband, a defense licensed reliable for the Unusual Jersey Democrat instantaneous jurors Wednesday in his federal corruption trial.

Nadine Menendez “kept Bob sidelined” from her discussions about her money complications, licensed reliable Avi Weitzman acknowledged in an opening assertion that at cases perceived to shield the senator by casting blame on his considerable other.

Weitzman instantaneous the jury that gold bars — which hang been seized in an FBI search of Menendez’s dwelling and held up by prosecutors as evidence that he took years of bribes — had been existing in “Nadine’s closet.”

The senator, acknowledged Weitzman, had no key to that closet and no data that his considerable other had purchased any gold bars from Fred Daibes, undoubtedly one of two businessmen standing trial alongside Menendez in Unusual york federal court.

Somewhat, Menendez plot it changed into as soon as “family gold,” Weitzman acknowledged, as he insisted that the as soon as-extremely efficient senator “took no bribes.”

The defense licensed reliable addressed the 12-person jury after a federal prosecutor instantaneous them that Menendez “keep his energy up for sale” and “aged his considerable other as a walk-between.”

Menendez, 70, changed into as soon as “on the rob” and “motivated by greed,” U.S. Attorney Laura Pomerantz acknowledged in an opening assertion for the prosecution.

“This changed into as soon as no longer politics as traditional,” Pomerantz acknowledged. “This changed into as soon as politics for profit.”

Menendez, Nadine Menendez, Daibes and Wael Hana, a 2d Unusual Jersey businessman, are charged in the sprawling case alleging that the senator illegally took a entire bunch of thousands of bucks’ rate of gold, cash and other items in alternate for legitimate acts.

Menendez, who till the indictment served as chair of the Senate Foreign Household members Committee, and his considerable other are accused of the utilize of his political energy to are trying to enhance the businessmen and relieve the governments of Egypt and Qatar.

The trial for Menendez, Daibes and Hana began Monday. Nadine Menendez’s trial changed into as soon as severed from her co-defendants’ due to medical factors, and will likely be held at a later date. The senator’s considerable other has no longer looked with him in court.

A third Unusual Jersey businessman charged in the case, Jose Uribe, pleaded responsible in March and agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors. He’ll testify as a probe for the prosecution, Pomerantz instantaneous the jury.

The hole statements began Wednesday afternoon, rapidly after prosecutors and defense attorneys chosen a fat jury of six men and 6 girls folks, plus six alternate jurors.

Think Sidney Stein pushed aside the the jury after Weitzman’s lengthy introduction, which lasted over an hour. Attorneys for Hana and Daibes are space to bring their opening statements Thursday.

The trial could presumably final seven weeks or extra.

Jury different

Sen. Bob Menendez’s considerable other, Nadine Menendez, departs Unusual york federal court, in Unusual York City, Oct. 2, 2023.

David Dee Delgado | Getty Pictures

The 18-person jury changed into as soon as chosen on the wait on of closed doors, after two plodding trial days passed and not using a single juror being seated.

Those days had been largely consumed by a lengthy strategy of individually questioning anyone who acknowledged they’d not support as a juror.

Dozens of of us in the court docket had raised their juror playing cards to doubtlessly disqualify themselves from the trial.

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By Tuesday evening, Stein had whittled down by half the pool of possible jurors, to 75.

Stein then began questioning particular person jurors in open court about their occupations, households, residing instances, media habits, leisure pursuits and interests.

Fred Daibes arrives at federal court for his bribery trial in connection with U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., in Unusual York City, Can even 14, 2024.

Brendan Mcdermid | Reuters

Capacity jurors identified themselves easiest by their assigned numbers however as soon as in some time gave extremely non-public answers.

One in every of them, a self-described podcast “junkie,” acknowledged she has called into the controversy indicate of Unusual York City public radio worn Brian Lehrer “1,000,000 cases.”

“He knows my dispute,” the girl added.

Every other would-be juror instantaneous the decide that he lives by myself and that his considerable other and son recently died.

Wael Hana, a co-defendant of U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., arrives at federal court in Unusual York, Can even 13, 2024.

Victor J. Blue | Bloomberg | Getty Pictures

A man who works as an licensed reliable for a bank instantaneous Stein that he had beforehand contributed to Menendez’s political advertising and marketing and marketing campaign.

The donation changed into as soon as made after a request by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, essentially based on the person, who acknowledged he had made “dozens” of identical contributions through the years.

AIPAC endorsed Menendez in January, two months sooner than the senator announced he would no longer enter the Democratic main in a reelection uncover however left the door open to flee as an self sustaining.

Correction: This text has been updated to replicate the suitable spelling of Wael Hana’s title.

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